When Benue State was created by the navy administration of Common Murtala Mohammed, on third February 1976, it was a dream come true for Benue folks, particularly for the founding fathers, just like the Late Joseph Tarka, who led the wrestle for the creation of a state for the Center Belt minorities for thus a few years.
At creation, Benue was like a finely constructed rocket ready to be launched into the area. Hopes for the brand new state was excessive. However little did anybody know that the state would develop into the epicenter of Fulani herdsmen terrorism in few many years.
After the numerous years of navy juntas and navy interruptions of civil guidelines that slowed the event of Benue, like each different state within the nation, energy was lastly returned to civilians in 1999. And the hope of the folks was as soon as once more reignited.
However sadly, all that hope was dashed by the egregious corruption that characterised the civilian administration that took over from the navy within the state.
Benue folks had been as soon as once more marooned!
Much more threatening, was the rejuvenated Fulani jihad sweeping throughout North Central Nigeria. Benue folks had been being focused for extermination.
The folks might now not go to farms, Fulani herders had been encroaching on their lands and destroying their farm produces. Their leaders had been afraid to talk. Politicians had been taking part in politics with their (Benue folks) lives. The folks had been in a state of helplessness.
Then got here a ‘Messiah’!
When His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ioraer Ortom, got here into workplace because the fifth civilian Governor of Benue State in 2015, the state was going through an existential menace; marauding Fulani militias had been killing farmers and ransacking villages. Communities in Agatu had been razed down in a fashion that might not be salvaged, in February, 2016.
Just like the heroic former UK Prime Minister, orator and chief, Winston Churchill, who led Britain to victory within the Second World Battle, Governor Ortom swung into motion instantly by declaring a state of emergency on insecurity.
His motion earned him a whole lot of apathy from Abuja and the Fulani oligarchy, however he was agency on his stance to not compromise or play politics with the lives of Benue folks. On the similar time he was quick turning into the ‘Face’ of the struggle towards Fulani bellicosity in Nigeria.
In any case, the idea for the existence of any authorities, and the one position assigned to any accountable and responsive authorities by the Nigerian structure, is the safety of lives and properties of its citizenry.
Bearing that in thoughts, in Could, 2017, Governor Ortom signed the Benue Anti-Open Grazing Regulation which prohibits open grazing of cattle and different livestock and gives for institution of ranches, to be able to cease Fulani herdsmen militia from junketing farm settlements and killing villagers and destroying crops.
The Fulani herdsmen beneath the umbrella of Miyetti Allah Hautal Kore, didn’t make secret their menace to “deal” with Governor Ortom and Benue State, although the regulation additionally offered stiff penalties for these discovered responsible of cattle rustling. It was due to this fact, clear that the herdsmen have an ulterior motive.
On the first January 2018, the Fulani herdsmen made good their menace, by murdering over 73 villagers in Guma native authorities space of Benue state. And once more, Governor Ortom, like Churchill, used his nice oratory to name the eye of the world to the genocide and the fixed terror assaults on Benue State by Fulani herdsmen.
This additional deteriorated the bitter relationship between him (Governor Ortom) and the Presidency, vis-a-vis the Fulani oligarchy, who made no secret of their apathy for the Governor of the as soon as strong meals basket of the nation.
However the good folks of Benue who know and worth the good battle their chief, the ‘Defender of the Benue Valley’, Samuel Ortom is combating for them, overwhelmingly reelected him in 2019, to proceed the great work; after he was issued a “purple card” by the brokers of the enemies of Benue State.
Curiously, Governor Ortom quickly turned the darling of most peace loving Nigerians, who would typically make assertion: “I want he (Ortom) was my Governor”, anytime there’s a Fulani herdsmen assault on their states. And different state governors began copying Governor Ortom’s mannequin of enacting anti-open grazing legal guidelines to quash herdsmen assaults.
This too angered the management of the Fulani marauders they usually once more threatened to “deal” with Governor Ortom and Benue State for beginning the anti-open grazing regulation development.
In April, 2021, the convoy of Governor Samuel Ortom was attacked on his farm at Tyo-mu, alongside Makurdi-Gboko highway. The Governor narrowly escaped. What an effrontery!!
A gaggle referred to as Fulani Nationality Motion, FUNAM, claimed accountability for the assault. However until right this moment, the police authorities, neither the key brokers of the state, didn’t make any arrest in reference to the assault.
Regardless of all these, the Governor refused to be discouraged. Immediately, he’s a hero, not simply to Benue State however to all of the states in Nigeria the place his knowledge of anti-open grazing regulation was borrowed.
As Benue celebrates her 46th anniversary right this moment, let’s not overlook that the state is present peacefully right this moment due to the love and braveness of Governor Samuel Ortom, the Winston Churchill of Benue State.
At a particular thanksgiving and prayer session organized to commemorate the 46th anniversary of Benue, on the Chapel in Individuals’s Home, Makurdi, on Thursday, the Governor advised whoever that cared to hear that he was not combating a private struggle, as some erroneously construed.
Relatively, he stated it was a struggle for fairness, justice and equity.
“I problem anybody that feels that I’ve stated something exterior these three issues (fairness, justice and equity) to come back out, and I’ll apologize. However when there may be none of those three issues, God will rise by Himself from the throne and do justice and I feel the time is ripe”, Ortom stated Thursday morning in the course of the service.
The visibly elated Governor testified to the truth that Benue is now low in reported circumstances of banditry, armed theft and native crimes; attributing it to the grace of God and powerful political will to deal with them.
He believed that “this session of prayers we now have made right here right this moment, will flip issues round for Benue”.
Additionally, in the course of the service on Thursday, the Governor reiterated his allegiance to the folks of Benue State, whose mandate he has sworn to defend.
He stated, “I’m dedicated to face by fact and say the reality. I’ll stand and defend the individuals who voted for me. My allegiance is to Benue folks and to not some other group or individuals”.
For the doubting Thomases and the never-ending Naysayers, Governor Ortom assured that he would do all inside his powers and God given time, to ship the dividends of democracy to the folks, not minding the numerous distractions inside and outdoors Benue.
“I need to guarantee you that, higher is the top of the whole lot than the start thereof. It doesn’t matter even whether it is one yr remaining. All of the applications that God has ordained me to do, I’ll do them earlier than leaving”, he advised the congregation.
Because the Governor goes about doing his constitutionally assigned duties of safety and security of Benue folks and by additionally delivering high quality governance to the folks, as promised, it’s due to this fact incumbent on Benue little children, together with lovers of Benue, to commit him of their prayers.
We should, as a folks, acknowledge that we should first must be alive, earlier than we speak about materials issues. Thus, if we’re opportune to have a selfless man who places his life on line for us to stay; the least that’s anticipated of us, is to assist him with prayers and want him nicely. For if we want him in any other case, we’re inadvertently scuttling our probabilities of company existence, as a folks.
However that won’t be attainable in totality. In any case, our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ who laid his life for mankind, was by no means appreciated by his folks. Whilst Prime Minister of the UK, who stood for his folks in the course of the Second World Battle, Winston Churchill was not cherished by all.
However just like the Bible posited, after his brothers bought him out and a critical famine hit the land, Joseph’s price turned obtrusive and unparalleled. You don’t know the value of a factor, till you will have misplaced it. Solely time shall inform!!
Pleased 46th anniversary to our expensive Benue State!!!
(Itodo is the Senior Particular Assistant on New Media to Governor Samuel Ortom).